Former Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre cannot be believed in his denial of ex-Bureau of Correction OIC Rafael Ragos’ accusations against him, stressed Sen. Leila de Lima.
De Lima said Aguirre has a history of coercing witnesses, manufacturing evidence or lying about evidence.
“Aguirre orchestrated the trial by publicity conducted against me both in the House of Representatives and the Senate,” said De Lima who has been jailed at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame for more than five years over illegal drug charges.
De Lima also said Aguirre had coerced Department of Justice (DOJ) employees to admit falsely that they received money and held bank accounts for her benefit.
“In his effort to fabricate charges against me, he gave immunity under the Witness Protection Program to the Bilibid inmates he either coerced or bribed to testify against me during the House hearing in September 2016, even when criminal convicts are disqualified from becoming state witnesses,” insisted the Senator running for another term.
He said not one of them was prosecuted in court by Aguirre and his DOJ, except for Jaybee Sebastian.
Because of Ragos’ recent affidavit pointing to Aguirre as the mastermind behind his false testimony against her, De Lima said she will file a supplement to the Complaint she filed against Aguirre with the Ombudsman in 2017.
This complaint, she said, includes a criminal complaint for offering false testimony, using falsified documents, and resorting to grave coercion.
She said, “Ragos’ affidavit will serve as strong evidence, together with the other documents I already submitted to the Ombudsman, that Aguirre committed these criminal offenses against me when he ordered the preparation and filing of fabricated drug charges against me.”
She described Aguirre’s statement that Ragos’retraction is politically-motivated and timed for the elections is pure speculation, a flimsy defense.
She said Ragos has always been under the wing of the DOJ, even retaining his position as NBI Deputy Director for the good part of the trial, at least until he finishes his cross-examination.
“I, on the other hand, remain in detention here in Camp Crame. What influence can I possibly have on Ragos to be able to extract his recantation, more so time its execution in time for the elections? ”
“I say it again – Aguirre is a certified liar. He’s an embarrassment to the whole justice system,” further stated De Lima.
She also asserted anew there is nothing questionable about witnesses finally speaking the truth and finding it in their conscience to retract their lies about the illegal drug charges against her.
She said the DOJ’s decision to keep her detained despite the recent developments in her trumped-up drug cases puts into question the integrity of the DOJ.
“Anyone can see how I am in no position to force anything from the witnesses against me,” she said.
“The DOJ is supposed to search for truth. Ngayon, the DOJ wants to bury the truth… dahil ba mga opisyales nila ang sangkot?”
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the admission of not one but two witnesses, that their allegations against De Lima were fabricated only confirms the charges against De Lima are fake, baseless and motivated only by malice and political vendetta.
She said the statements of Ragos and Kerwin Espinosa are deeply disturbing and warrant an urgent, unbiased, and transparent investigation on the alleged fabrication of evidence and coercion of witnesses against De Lima.
An inquiry, she emphasized, must be made to check, if similar to Ragos and Espinosa, the testimonies of other witnesses against De Lima were merely “scripted” and were made under duress. Ragos, Espinosa and any new witnesses should be secured to prevent any and all attempts to silence them.
“All law enforcement authorities and public officials who are behind these trumped-up charges must be identified, investigated upon, and held accountable under the law. The connection of former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to these acts should be scrutinized, given that he was previously caught red handed in the Senate cooking up baseless criminal charges against me as a member of the opposition,” she said.